Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

May you have a wonderful day filled with "THANKS!"





Monday, November 24, 2014

"Projects, Pumpkin Pie and (quite possibly) Prozac"...by Gina Waite

This picture is of me…me thinking…me thinking of every project and pumpkin-inspired recipe I’ve pinned on Pinterest in the last year! Me…recognizing I fall into the same trap EVERY Holiday Season! The closer and closer it gets to the SEASON…the further and further my mind gets from REASON! I always start off November with a conservative list of “to do” and “to buy” and faster than Martha Stewart can say, “it’s a good thing,” my mind loses all sense of reason while “visions of Sugar Plums dance in my head!” Don’t get me wrong, I am a most devoted project/provisions enthusiast! I just recognize that sometimes we get so involved in the fuss and muss we forget about OUR family and OUR sanity! We need to be kind to ourselves and lower those expectations!



This time of year can also be a time of remembering...which is wonderful...BUT can become increasingly difficult when you experience extreme loss (like the death of someone you love.) The Holiday Season can then become a painful reminder of the absence of that person! I’ve ALWAYS loved Thanksgiving and Christmas and more often than not, have had my decorations up for Christmas…by Thanksgiving! After losing my Mom last year, it was difficult for me to decorate the Christmas tree in…well...the second week of December! …And that’s where this helpful little article came in extremely handy!

The Mayo Clinic Staff has done a little research and listed ten ways to help prevent holiday stress and depression. I’m listing it today in hopes that it may help a few of you…the same few who are up to their eyeballs in projects, pumpkin pie and may possibly need a little Prozac! Be kind to yourself and others AND enjoy this Blessed Season with your family! As always...hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at: nutshellstories@gmail.com!

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression:

1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Try these alternatives:
*Donate to a charity in someone's name.
*Give homemade gifts.
*Start a family gift exchange.

6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

8. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
*Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
*Get plenty of sleep.
*Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Some options may include:
*Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
*Listening to soothing music.
*Getting a massage.
*Reading a book.

10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nicknames...by Jim Terry

How many of us have had or do have a nickname in our life?

When I was growing up, I had several different names I went by.  The obvious one, when I was a young boy, would have been “Jimmy.”  As I grew up, and for certain friends in high school who were “copycatting” a national BBQ sauce commercial, I would be known as “Jimmy Joe”.  “Flipper”, “Dude”, “Jimbay” and “Jimbobs” were also a part of the tags I had and do have throughout my life. Each and every name was distinctive, unique and always draws a smile when I think of them.

However, I did not want to talk about my nicknames today but the nicknames of another very important person in my life who just so happened to have her fiftieth birthday earlier this week.  She is known to most of us as “Lor” which has been shortened from her given name of Lora.

One of my favorite nicknames that evolved over the years for my sister was “Lo-lo”.  If memory serves me correctly, this particular nickname began due to the younger siblings in our family.  When children are young, as all of us know, it takes time for the tongue and the lips to develop the precise movement of the muscles to form the correct sound of the word they are trying to express…so Lora or even Lor can easily become “Lo-lo.”  It was just much easier for a young child to say “Lo-lo” and somehow that just stuck with her.

Another fun nickname that she had was “Slugger.”  For those of you who do not know my sister, she was one of the best softball players I have ever seen.  Her ability to hit, throw and run is something I STILL brag about to my friends, acquaintances and my patients.  I remember several years playing co-ed softball with her.  She would play left-center field and I was always on the infield at third base and/or shortstop…Not to be chauvinistic with this next comment, but in a man’s world and especially in coed softball, we immediately assess in our mind when we get up to bat..."where  are the girls located on the field?" We then proceed to the notion that it’s an easy way to get on base if we, as men, place hit the ball to a girl, especially in the outfield.  And just so you know, it is also a calculated way we stroke our egos, show our testosterone levels and finally exhibit our strength so we not only get on base but can “easily” get a double, a triple or even a home run.  

I would always chuckle to myself when a man would try to “stroke his ego” by hitting towards my sister in the outfield. Not only would he be so quickly and shamelessly humbled by her talent, but he would leave the field with his head down saying to himself, “What in the heck just happened?”…To this day, and probably never again in my lifetime, will I see a GIRL with the ability to throw a ball all the way from the center field fence to home plate without skipping the ball at least once! 


 “Aunt Swearer” was also another funny nickname given to her. Lor has NEVER had a problem expressing herself.  And in doing so, she has always had this amazing ability to use colorful metaphors like “shoot”, “darn” and “heck.”  Of course if you take these metaphors and switch them into other four letter words of similar meaning, then you will understand how and why certain nieces and nephews would name her for this miraculous and mind-blowing talent. J

I could go on and on about several other nicknames I can think of and could discuss concerning my sister Lora over the years, but NONE of them are as important as the ones I feel in my heart…She’s my “confidant”, an “amazing person” and my best “friend.” These are the nicknames that accurately and justly express who you really are “SIS”! (another nickname) J

Hope you had a WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY LOR! WE LOVE YOU!







Monday, November 17, 2014

My Perspective...by Mary Hazlett

You know it is really hard to write a blog when you just really don't want to.  All I would really like to do is complain about my life...for starters...I am pregnant.  Which is complicated by the fact that I have a cold that has lingered for 3 weeks and every time I cough...I usually fart or pee my pants... which is quite a gas to my 5 year old especially when we are grocery shopping.  My entire body from my chin to my knees are swollen and my fingers and toes are getting more numb the longer I am typing.

Which all this complaining reminds me of a time in college.  I was living with my sweet Aunt Sue and Uncle Rick.  My Aunt Sue was and is quite industrious and social.  She had a Bunco group once a month and it just so happened it was her month to host. On the day of the big Bunco party, one of the players could not be there due to illness and my aunt asked me to substitute for her.  So, of course I relented because I loved my aunt and it really did sound like fun.  The night began with all kinds of laughter, rolling dice, and eating treats.  I was really enjoying myself amongst all this wonderful women.  As the games came to a close,  all of the ladies gathered round on the couch and began to discuss life.  Not wanting to be rude, I sat on the floor in the living area just listening... and listening... about gout, diabetes, lumps, hair removal, calluses, stretch marks... all things that seemed quite foreign to a girl barely 20.  This is when my aunt looked at me and said, "Mar what you thinking?'.  I replied with, "Just thinking about all I have to look forward too."  Sure this is a funny event but also amazing how an event like this can give you a little perspective.

Today marks exactly one year since I did my very first post on my mother's blog...announcing the passing of my beautiful wonderful mother.   I remember when my mom first started writing this blog she would call me on occasion and ask me why it was again that she was doing this... and I would go on about how her readers needed her and her words....her perspective.

So to gather a little more perspective of what to write today, I scoured all of Mom's nutshell blogs she had written.  Of course the morning was spent with tears, laughter, and with an even greater bond to my mother as she reminisced about her childhood, teenage-hood, motherhood, and grandma..hood.  I got to travel with her to California, Utah, and outer space, eat her Mom's apple pie,  giggle with her and her little sister, open her cedar chest, blow bubbles with her in the backyard, see my dad as a hero, watch her give her hard earned money to someone in need, laugh at the silly owl decoy in the garden, and put on her old purple socks.......all of her stories carried a single theme that no matter what... life is PRECIOUS!  Life should be enjoyed not just endured.  Love those you serve and serve those you love.

Thank you Mom for cheering up my perspective!  Once again, you have made my day a little brighter!

**Share your stories with us at nutshellstories@gmail.com.




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Thanks Just Isn't Enough"...by Gina Waite

“You never judge a book by its cover”… at least that’s what my Mom always taught me!  You have to crack that sucker open and read through the first 50 pages BEFORE you decide whether or not to finish the book!  Mostly because you don’t want to invest your time into something you don’t find of any value…whether it be educational or entertaining!    I think this same idea applies to people…you can’t fully value a person until you've invested time in their story.  …And if their story is ANYTHING like George Quinton…believe you me…you’ll be happy to invest your time!


My friend, George Quinton, born December 18, 1921 grew up to be an avid adventurer in the 20 acre farm off East River Road in Idaho Falls.  His growing up years passed quickly and realizing that he would most likely be drafted into the armed services, George made his way to Boise, Idaho to enlist for the Navy in June 1942!   He was accepted and inducted into The United States Navy then traveled to San Diego for military training.  After the completion of Boot Camp, George made his way to Pearl Harbor (just months after the infamous Pearl Harbor bombing) by way of former luxury-liner-turned-military-transport ship.   George recalls witnessing the aftermath of the horrific events of December 7, 1941…he told me, “as much as those good ol' boys had tried to clean up after the bombings…I could still see the destruction of Pearl Harbor…including the four inches of oil that had seeped out of destroyed vessels that sat atop the water’s edge.” 


George was a dedicated petty officer third class!  His scope through the entirety of his naval career found him as boatswain for 35 and 50 foot boats running to and from surface vessels with much needed supplies...to...2nd division detail making sure the exterior structure of the Makin Island (converted escort carrier) surface vessel was in working order.  George would refuel, transport supplies and shoot the gunnery on the ship which made his time in the military pass quickly!  Like many great American Soldiers George found great passion for boxing and while serving in the Navy (and unbeknownst to him) was elected to box someone against his will…his opponent breaking George’s nose in the process.  That was all it took for George to get up off the ground and knock out his opponent…winning in front of his fellow shipmates!  George was revered, respected and noted for his ability, just as in his boxing match, to pick himself up off the ground and succeed in the face of defeat!  I think I would call that extreme resiliency!  This same resiliency that would be necessary, much later in George’s life, in aiding him to lovingly care for his wife while she battled Alzheimer’s disease.  The same disease that accelerated her graduation into the spirit world…for which George patiently waits to be with her again! 



As my family and I have had the good fortune of visiting with George frequently and the possibility of his presence at Thanksgiving Dinner…we decided to write him a note of thanks!  These are some of the sentiments we've included in our letter that writer, Cathy Maxwell, offers ALL Veterans’ on this, our Veteran’s Day:

*Thank you for enlisting and stepping forward when so many step back.

*Thank you for playing mediator between us and danger.

*Thank you for delaying plans for college, marriage, and other opportunities and choosing to serve.

*Thank you for braving the horrific and unspeakable horrors of war.

*Thank you for sacrificing time with your families and missing those significant milestones the rest of us take for granted.

*Thank you to spouses who live nomadic lives, often far away from the comforts and traditions of extended family.

*Thank you to your children who live most of their lives without your presence recognizing they must share you with the rest of the nation.

*Thank you to your parents who can only prayer for your safety and hope for the willingness of the citizens of our country to offer the best we have for you.

*Thank you for giving our country a conscience.

*Thank you for showing us who we are and what we have the opportunity to become.

*Thank you!!!!  Knowing that thanks…just isn't enough!!!!

♦ Hope you'll Honor our Veterans AND share YOUR stories and photos with us at: nutshellstories@gmail.com.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crap...It is time AGAIN!...by Mary Hazlett

Due to remodel, pregnancy, 2 kids, a husband, church and all things crazy...blog will be posted tomorrow...may be I can get my sister to do it...I am just to dang tired to finish it.  However....for those of you wondering......ITS a Boy! (Maybe...Oliver...if I have my way)



Monday, November 3, 2014

Nothing like November...by Gina Waite

There’s nothing like November!  The Fall leaves have dropped, the air contains the chills of Winter AND it suddenly becomes dark….at 5’o clock!  For my children, the idea that winter is close at hand sends visions of Christmas and snowboarding into their dreamy little heads.  For my husband, the fact that summer has gone lends itself to remembering great golf moments from summer’s past AND time to enjoy Chief Blackhawk and his team of mighty Hockey Warriors!   For me, November will always be a time of gratitude…gratitude that two of my favorite people were born!




Tom…one of the most naturally cheerful people I have EVER met…was born on this day in Rockford, Illinois.  Upon meeting his adult self…I was immediately intrigued.  He was older than I and with that had experienced a little more of life AND the world’s community.  I was drawn to listen to Tom’s stories of the places he’d been and the things he’d seen.  His love of history and art…AND general passion for life and laughter were all reasons that I decidedly wanted to spend more time with him!  …AND all of that has been an important part of our relationship BUT…it’s in how my husband has ALWAYS made me feel that truly captured my attention and has drawn me to him ever since!


To tell a woman she’s beautiful is one thing…to mean it with your entire soul is completely another matter!  After knowing Tom for some time, we began dating…and I quickly realized how much he loved my company.  His persistent concern for my safety and his desire for my comfort are part of the reasons I love him so much even now!  Dating was an enjoyable experience that was interlaced with the most beautiful expressions of hi s love and admiration for my whole person.  Referring to “Helen of Troy” and not knowing my love of Greek Mythology, I will NEVER forget one of Tom’s most memorable expressions as I walked down my parent’s staircase to greet him for a date…he said, “You have a face that would launch a thousand ships!”  The remarkable thing is, I could tell he truly meant it…and he’s made me feel beautiful every day since!



Two years and one month after we were married…we nearly delivered Jordan on his Dad’s birthday!  After 18 hours of knowing of his eventual arrival, Jordan was born one day after his Dad…a detail they enjoy even to this day!  Recently as my family sat down to enjoy each other’s company…my boys started reminiscing of birthdays gone by and told stories of experiences they’ve had together!  As I sat there, watching the pair of my November boys, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude…gratitude that I met my Tom, grateful for my adventurous Jordan and happy for the time of life I’m in!  As I said before…there’s nothing like November!

Happy Birthday Tom and Jordan…may you each enjoy your day AND may the Blackhawks have a wonderful season!!!!

♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at: nutshellstories@gmail.com.